CENTER FOR PARKINSON'S DISEASE
& OTHER MOVEMENT DISORDERS
Un Jung Kang
Dr. Kang is focused on 1) understanding the mechanisms of dopaminergic therapy in order to maximize its efficacy and 2) understanding the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD) to gain insights for potential neuroprotective therapies. His lab has been studying the non-dopaminergic mechanisms underlying both the beneficial aspects of the dopaminergic therapy, such as motor learning, that produces long-duration response and detrimental ones, such as dyskinesia. He is also interested in pathogenic mechanisms of PD and investigates interaction of PD causing genes such as DJ-1 and PINK1 with environmental exposures in producing neurodegeneration.
Clinical research involving most aspects of movement disorders: dystonia and tardive syndromes; clinical pharmacology; genetics of movement disorders; clinical and surgical trials of new therapies for Parkinson disease, dystonia and myoclonus; rating scales; and experimental therapeutics for movement disorders.
» Center for Movement Disorder Surgery
Clinical research on deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson disease, tremor, dystonia, and other movement disorders, with a focus on treatment outcomes, patient selection criteria, stimulation effects, long-term follow-up, and potential new clinical applications and target sites.
Dr. Alcalay’s focus is on clinical research on the epidemiology and the genetics of Parkinson’s disease. He has particular interest in cognitive manifestations of Parkinson’s disease. His research focuses on the association between genetic mutations, Parkinson’s disease and cognitive impairment. Additional current projects include assessment of correlations between genetic profile and clinical manifestations of Parkinson’s disease, especially among patients with early-onset Parkinson’s.
Clinical drug trials for Parkinson disease. Clinical research on other parkinsonian syndromes and movement disorders.
» Neuroscience Research Laboratory
Studies on the cellular and molecular bases of neurodegeneration as they pertain to the demise of specific populations of neurons in toxic and genetic models of Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Research efforts are geared toward unraveling the contribution of both cell autonomous (e.g. mitochondrial bionenergetic and dynamics; autophagy; apoptosis) and non-cell autonomous (e.g. astrocyte, microglia) mechanisms of neuronal death. Methods include transgenic rodents, cell culture of both clonal and primary cells, transfection/infection to modulate genes of interest, immunohistochemistry, stereology, functional microscopy, in situ hybridization, receptor binding, enzymatic assays, mitochondrial functional assays, HPLC, classical histology, behavioral testing, and surgery.
» Clinical Motor Physiology Laboratory
Areas of research include movement analysis, brainstem and spinal reflexes, botulinum toxin injections into limbs, intraoperative single unit recordings during functional neurosurgery, mathematical modeling, and artificial intelligence approaches to clinical and physiological data. Current projects include sophisticated diagnosis-oriented tremor analysis, back averaging EEG to EMG and polymyography, handwriting and spiral analysis, transcranial magnetic motor evoked responses, reaction time and movement speed analysis in patients undergoing surgery for Parkinson's disease, intraoperative monitoring during pallidotomy and diagnostic neural network paradigm development.
NEURODEGENERATION LABORATORIES: THE MORRIS UDALL CENTER FOR PARKINSON DISEASE RESEARCH
Robert E. Burke
Director PD Research Lab
» The Burke Laboratory
Studies of mechanisms of programmed cell death in models of neurodegeneration related to disorders of the basal ganglia, especially parkinsonism. Studies are conducted both in vivo and in vitro, utilizing immunohistochemistry, quantitative morphologic analysis, in situ hybridization, differential display, receptor autoradiography, and enzyme assays.
» Sulzer Laboratory
Study of dopamine synaptic plasticity and its pharmacological manipulation by drugs used for treatment of Parkinson disease and schizophrenia, as well as modulation by intrinsic synaptic proteins. Investigations also include mechanisms of addictive drugs associated with dopamine systems and cell culture models of catecholamine neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration. Methods include electrophysiology, electrochemistry, HPLC, quantitative microscopy, molecular biology, and neuronal cell culture.
Lloyd A. Greene
Claude P.J. Ghez
The neurological mechanisms underlying the initiation and control of reaching movement are studied by kinematic, electromyographic analyses, PET, and fMRI in normal humans and patients with cerebral or cerebellar lesions. In trained cats, deficits in kinematic control are analyzed following reversible inactivation of motor cortex and cerebellum. Other anatomic brain pathways relevant to movement are also being investigated.
THE MOTOR PERFORMANCE LABORATORY
» The Motor Performance Laboratory
Dr. Mazzoni is Co-Director, with Dr. John Krakauer, of the Motor Performance Laboratory, a research facility dedicated to the study of the neural basis of limb movement control in health and neurologic disease. By studying motor control and motor learning in healthy subjects, we try to discover how movements are normally controlled by the brain. By studying movement abnormalities in patients with neurologic disorders, we learn how various brain structures contribute to motor control, and improve our understanding of how these disorders produce their symptoms.